One of the things this country’s political system is built on – I mean, one of the really fundamental precepts of our government – is that belief systems are completely black and white. You are either gung-ho for abortion and want easy, unlimited access for everyone all the time, or you think that Jesus weeps for every lump of partially-grown cells dropped in a garbage can and that nobody should ever have the right to kill a precious zygote no matter the circumstances. You either support giving homosexuals the same rights as everyone else and therefore also want to allow bigamy, bestiality and incest to be legal as well, or you want to prevent the gays from ruining the otherwise pristine institution of marriage, and pine for a law that would make being gay at all punishable by stoning. That’s why we have two and only two parties in this country: because you feel very strongly about things, and your beliefs line up perfectly with one of two pre-determined sets of precepts.
Ok, so you see the patent absurdity inherent in that statement, right? Jesus, I hope you do. So if we all agree that morality and governance aren’t two-sided issues, then why the hell are we so eager to cleave ourselves to one of the two political parties on offer and defend it to the death, all the while working as hard as possible to ridicule and bring down the “other” party? Is it possible that Americans have been so brainwashed by the two-party system that we actually start to buy into each side’s message that they are the one right and true authority and the opposition are the most evil people god ever shit onto this planet?
In a word, yes.
The Supreme Court and PolitixFan73
Partisanism is at its fiercest right now. I’m not going to waste your time (or mine) looking for reasons, because the reason is irrelevant – that’s just the way the world is and looking for a cause is only taking time away that could be spent writing baseless internet rants. If you have any doubt that mindless, zombie-like partisanism is epidemic right now, just look at pretty much every vote Congress has taken in the last four years. Or Supreme Court judgments. Or, if you have the intestinal fortitude, check the comments section on any news story. It’s no exaggeration to say that depending on which site you’re looking at, either the Republicans or the Democrats are to blame for every evil in the world, and every small ill that happens is all part of a greater plot to take your freedoms/sell the country wholesale to corporations/give your hard-earned tax dollars away to people with skin darker than yours/bring about the apocalypse and submerge us all in that scorpion-like torment we’ve been hearing about so much lately (check our Twitter feed!). I sincerely wish I was kidding. Just go to DailyKos, or RawStory, or TheBlaze and skim through their comments for as long as you can before your brain starts leaking out of your ears. After a while, a pattern emerges. Successful political trolling always follows the following formula:
- Whatever the story is about, blame the other party. Bonus points if you bring up some vague and nebulous far-reaching conspiracy. Something like “Those tornadoes are only here because the Democratic party wants to wipe out the Republican south! When they talk about climate change, that’s because they’ve been working with MIT scientists (liberal Bostonians) on a weather-control machine.”
- Pepper your comment with “clever” slurs like Rethuglicans or Dumbocrats. If you’re unsure if your slur is moronic enough, say it out loud. If it sounds like something that would come out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth, you’re on the right track! (NOTE: despite the tone of this article, I would like to endorse the use of the term “teabaggers” to refer to the Tea Party, partly because it was self-applied, but mostly because it’s fucking hilarious and they deserve it.)
- Be sure to state repeatedly and unequivocally that anyone who disagrees with you is a sister-fucking troglodyte and should be force-fed his own feces while he burns to death. You will, of course, not want to use the word “troglodyte” as it might make you sound – GASP! – intellectual. You’ll want to use all manner of words that my mother brought me up to be too polite to use, most of them making assumptions about the opponent’s sexual predilections and mental handicaps.
- Use as many “facts” as you can without ever citing a reference. If you do, for some reason, decide to cite a reference, make sure it’s a wingnut blog that nobody except the most ardently ignorant would ever deem reliable. “This is undeniable fact, just check out this post on Patterico.com!” Other great examples include “My source? It’s right here on DailyKos!” or actually believing anything Andrew Breitbart has ever said in his entire life.
This is what’s wrong with you fucks
What I find most perplexing, though, is not the often baseless, senseless attacks on political opponents. This is pretty standard fare for every facet of life, and is more or less understandable. What continually amazes me is that in their zeal, partisans are willing to completely ignore reality and staunchly hold to the belief that their party is a force for freedom, altruistic deeds and righting everything that is wrong in the world. Here’s the thing, people: the Democrats and the Republicans are basically the same party.
“But,” you say, “one is liberal! And the other conservative! How can they be the same?”
Because “liberal” and “conservative” are social constructs and apply to about 9% of what political parties do*. Sure, one side might be baby-killing homosexuals while the other are ass-backward rednecks and corporate billionaires, but when you get down to brass tacks, the people who run the parties are basically the exact same people. In fact, sometimes they ARE the exact same people (see: former Democrat Strom Thurmond or former Republican Arlen Specter). They are, by and large, rich white megalomaniacs with a lust for power and a driving desire to either occupy their government seat until the end of time or get out after a few terms and parlay their experience into an obscenely lucrative lobbyist job. They both take money from people they shouldn’t and cover it up. They both have their scandals and their back-room deals and, most importantly, neither one is in it for you. Here’s the secret we all know but nobody ever really wants to talk about: the Republican party is – first and foremost – concerned with the good of the Republican party, and the Democratic party is concerned with the good of the Democratic party.
Now, I won’t sit here and tell you that they’re the same people out for the exact same goals – that’s demonstrably untrue. They have completely separate and unrelated goals: the Democrats want to wipe out the Republicans and the Republicans want to wipe out the Democrats. See? Night and day. They’re the fucking Atreides and Harkonnens, except the Spice is money and nobody’s walking away from this one a messiah.
To quote Kodos: “Go ahead! Throw your vote away!”
Ever notice how hard they work to keep any third parties out of the picture? Take the Commission on Presidential Debates, the group that has controlled all presidential and vice-presidential debates since 1988. They are a non-partisan group, according to their mission statement. But they are made up solely of members of the Democratic and Republican parties, so they’re not really so much non-partisan as they are bi-partisan. And yes, this is a very fucking crucial distinction, because it leaves out all of us who don’t subscribe to either party ideology and allows the two parties to exert ever greater control over the national discussion. In fact, after Ross Perot shocked the country by running an extremely successful independent campaign in 1996, the CPD enacted stricter inclusion guidelines to prevent future independents from getting into the debate and exerting some amount of control over the discussion. How does preventing voters from even hearing what an independent has to say benefit you?
It doesn’t. Sorry.
But hey, buck up champ, you still get to choose between two candidates who are largely financed by the same people and whose only real policy differences are purely social issues. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of gay rights or the abortion issue, because they are very much important debates that the country needs to be having, but look at the records of the last two (presumably diametrically opposed) presidents on issues like government transparency, US interventionism, regulation of Wall St., citizens’ rights, the fourth amendment and pretty much any other deeply impactful subject. They are almost identical. Look at the makeup of key cabinet positions, especially in the Treasury Department. For as long as any of you can probably remember, administrations of both parties have been putting former financial industry executives in positions of power. Now, if there was any real, substantive difference between the two parties, wouldn’t someone fucking take a stand on this? Wouldn’t one party or the other say to themselves “hey, the other people got a shit-ton of money from XYZ and made the former CEO of EvilBank the chairman of the Fed, maybe I should do the opposite since the other people are literally the worst human beings that have ever lived and I never tire of comparing them to Hitler?” The answer is yes, they should. But they don’t.
So let me make this request of you: the next time you’re reading a story about pandas failing to conceive in captivity, and you decide to drop a comment blaming the LIEberals because they want to convert every living thing on this planet into butt-humping homos, or the Repugnicans because they only want corporate zoos to be able to breed adorable animals, take just one moment and ask yourself, “am I being a complete fucking jerkhole right now?” The chances are good that you probably are. So stop it. Just stop it.
*This figure is in no way scientific, and was made up off of the top of my head. I am not a statistician, political scientist or person who actually understands math in any way.